Russia Attacks Kyiv with a Wave of Iranian-Made Drones After a Lull – The New York Times

December 17, 2022 by No Comments

KYIV, Ukraine — Russia launched a swarm of Iranian-made explosive drones at Kyiv on Wednesday, the second such assault on Ukraine in a few days, ending a three-week lull in attacks with waves of drones.

Ukrainian officials and military experts have said the pause in using drones — even as Russians continued to attack with missiles — could mean the devices were malfunctioning in Ukraine’s damp, subfreezing weather. The attack on Wednesday suggested that if there was such a glitch, it had been fixed.

Ukraine’s air defenses shot down all 13 of the Iranian-made Shahed drones — designed to dive into their targets and detonate on contact — that were launched at Kyiv and the surrounding region, officials said. There were no reports of casualties, but falling debris damaged two government buildings and at least four houses, they said.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine praised the air-defense systems in a brief video message published on the Telegram messaging app. “Well done! I’m proud!” Mr. Zelensky said. “We thank the Air Defense Forces!”

Compared to missiles, drones are much slower and easier to shoot down. They carry smaller warheads, often have shorter ranges and are less precise, but there has been speculation that Russia is running low on precision-guided missiles. Drones are also far cheaper, allowing an army to fire them by the dozens or even the hundreds, overwhelming air defenses and allowing some to reach their targets.

How long Russian can sustain firing salvos of drones remains unclear. Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s chief of military intelligence, said in October that Russia had ordered about 1,700 drones of all types from Iran and had used more than 300 of them, but it was not clear how fast they were being delivered.

“Shahed terror may actually last for a while,” he said at the time in an interview with Ukrainian news media. But since then, Kyiv has not offered any update on the size of Russia’s arsenal.

On Wednesday, one of the drones shot down over Kyiv bore a message painted on its wing: “For Ryazan!!!” apparently a claim that the attack was revenge for Ukrainian strikes last week at air bases deep inside Russia, including one near Ryazan, south of Moscow, that reportedly killed three service members. Russian warplanes taking off from those bases have fired missiles into Ukraine.

After Russian forces in September began to lose ground they …….



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